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John Terry holding on to KenwyneDarren Bent says Kenwyne Jones is the best strike partner he's ever played alongside.

But the England man hopes tomorrow will see the launch of an even more productive partnership when he pairs up with Asamoah Gyan for the first time from the start of a game.

Jones will arrive back on Wearside tomorrow for the first time since his £8m summer transfer to Stoke City, with Bent's words of praise ringing in his ears.

The Sunderland frontman said: "I always found Kenwyne a joy to play with.

"Even when it was said that he wasn't running, he wasn't doing this or that, he always had that presence where he might not do anything for 15 minutes but then he'd do something that would affect the game.

"He'd knock a header down to me and I'd be in, or he'd score a goal himself.

"I always felt that he did well in most games. He was brilliant to play up front with, and probably the best person I've played up front with in my career."

That's rich praise from the much-travelled Bent, who has played in the Premier League for years, and was one of a host of top strikers at Tottenham Hotspur.

But he's looking forward to working with £13m Gyan, though he says it will take time for the two to fully gel together.

"Asamoah's a quality player but we've not played much together, even in training, because we've been working on the 4-5-1 formation," he said.
"I'm sure once we've got a few games under our belt and start working on 4-4-2, we'll work really well though.

"We're quite similar, he's quite strong, he moves like I do.

"And because we're quite similar we know where we want the ball, where we want it played to, so I'm sure we'll get it right."

Bent hopes Sunderland will get it right from the start against Stoke tomorrow – a team who he knows from first-hand experience have quality players and a game plan which works well for them.

"How we start will determine how the fans react," the striker said.
"If we come out of the box slowly, we'll be dominated and it'll be a hard afternoon.

"But if we can nick a goal early doors and really attack, and show some passion and positivity, we'll be all right.

"The fans have been brilliant since I've been here, and I'm sure they'll get on our side and help us move forward.

"I know a few of Stoke's players quite well, obviously Kenwyne, not so much Dean Whitehead but Danny Collins I knew for a bit.

"It should be a good game." Stoke are a strong, physical side, and we'll have to deal with that."

Sunderland Football Club will once again show its support for Remembrance Day commemorations at the weekend.

The Black Cats will sport special one-off match shirts, screen-printed with the traditional poppy emblem against Stoke tomorow.

After the game the exclusive shirts will be signed by the individual players and auctioned on Sunderland's official website, safc.com, with all monies raised helping to support the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal Fund and the SAFC Foundation, the Club's own registered charity.